More than two-thirds of small business owners do not regret their decision to start a small business, according to the 2012 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report. Whether or not you will be happy with your decision will ultimately depend on the success of your business, so it is important to get started on the right path. There is help for small businesses owners out there, once you know where to look and how to start.
If you need help starting a business, then your first step might be using this brief guide.
- Secure business formation documents.
One of the most important, and yet still optional documents, is the business plan. According to Intuit, only 49% of businesses have one! The business plan is your official map and goals for the business. The process of writing it will make you think about your competition, your intended market, what resources are available to you, and what your step-by-step plan will be to launch your business and make it successful. Not only will it help you to explain your business accurately to investors and potential partners, but it will keep you on track.
Other important documents are not optional, and they are the documents that indicate which of the business formats your particular business will be considered under. The formats that you will have to choose from include partnerships, sole proprietorships, LLCs, corporations, S corporations, nonprofits, or cooperatives.
- Find company legal advice.
A company legal advice firm can provide help for small businesses by guiding them towards determining a business format. They can also help you with understanding your responsibilities as a business, and as an employer, as well as registering for taxes, licenses, and permits. According to the same Bank of America Report referenced earlier, only 29% of owners feel that they are “very savvy” in business financial matters. If you feel less than savvy, then getting advice from a legal firm could be very helpful.
- Use resources available to you.
Intuit reports that about 75% of small business owners use pen, paper, or spreadsheets to track performance. There are a number of software programs and courses that can provide you with modern business assistance and training. If you want to learn how to secure financing, there are workshops, books, and blogs or business magazines that can help.
Help for small businesses might not be widely advertised, but it does exist in the form of professional firms, local organizations and banks, and resources online and in your community. Remember to start with the all important step of securing business formation documents, seek legal advice if necessary, and use the resources that are available. If you do, your business will surely get off to a better start than if you ignored all of the help.